Sewer spills plague Table View home

A manhole on Desraye Auret’s property often overflows, causing sewage spills.

A Table View woman says she has battled with the City for two years to stop frequent sewage spills on her property.

Desraye Auret says the spills have been coming from a municipal manhole on her property since 2019, and she believes the problem can be blamed on rapid development in the area straining existing infrastructure.

“There were seven incidents in 2019, four in 2020 and another which happened on the 31 March 2021. This is getting out of hand and I have reported this to the City of Cape Town numerous times, but the problem persists.

“Unfortunately, this seems to be falling on deaf ears, because although the officials are sent out to clear the blockages, nothing is being done to resolve the matter. I have been visited by three members of the municipality, all of which advised that a non-returnable valve gets installed on my property, as this will resolve the issue.”

Xanthea Limberg, mayoral committee member for water and waste, said an inspection last week had found a build-up of fats in the area’s sewers.

“The City will conduct a cleaning process to remove the fat,” she said. “This cleaning process will be followed by routine regular check-ups in the area. A City official will remain in contact with the residents to monitor progress.”

The efficacy of a non-return valve depended on the root cause of the problem, she said.

“The disadvantage of an in-line non-return valve is that it obstructs the sewer main when operators need to push their equipment inside the sewer mains. This means that should a foreign object be flushed down the sewers and get stuck at the non-return valve, then the City will not be able to remove the foreign object using rodding or jetting. A non-return valve only provides one-way directional flow. Operational teams use sewer rods to dislodge foreign objects and extract them by pulling them out at the manhole,” she said.

Fellow Table View resident Philippe Roche, who has been helping Ms Auret find a solution to the sewage spills, accused the City of allowing more development in the area when the existing sewage infrastructure couldn’t handle it.

“The City has been spinning this resident since 2019,” he said, adding: “Gie and Circle roads, Eagle Crescent and Raats Drive are blocked regularly. Why do they not act and increase the sewage infrastructure once and for all?”

Desraye Auret, of Table View, says she has had frequent sewage spills on her property in the past two years.

Ms Auret said the sewage flooded her paved yard and flowed into her swimming pool.

“At the moment, the drains are cleared and there is no sewage spill on my property. But they have cleared this before and the problem came back again, so there’s no telling when the issue will pop up again. They know what the problem is, so why can’t they fix it permanently?”

Ms Limberg said she was aware of three reported incidents on the property – two in February 2020 and one last month. In all those incidents, City officials had cleared the blockages, she said.

Residents could prevent sewer blockages and spills by disposing of unwanted materials using appropriate solid waste collection services, she said.

“Only human waste, toilet paper and grey water should be disposed via sinks and toilets in their homes and communities. It is illegal for residents to place any other materials into the system because it causes overflows due to blockages. If residents have any recyclables, electronics, garage waste and builder’s rubble that they need to dispose of, please make use of the City’s drop-off facilities.”

To report sewer blockages, missing drain covers, vandalism, burst pipes, leaks and water wastage, residents can email, SMS 31373 or call 0860 103 089.